“True, we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving. There is always some madness in love, but there is also always some reason in madness.” - Petrarch, poet from The Italian Renaissance
Retired Army Colonel Lawrence Becco Jr. met Kaarin Thorfinnson at a friend’s retirement party in San Antonio, TX in the spring of 2005. They have been apart only three days since. At the time, Larry lived in Atlanta and Kaarin in Baltimore, each only decided at the very last moment to attend the party. Both were ultimately pleased they changed their minds.
After a trip to Baltimore to gather some personal necessities, Kaarin returned to Atlanta with Larry, as he was then commuting to and from Birmingham, AL to care for his ailing father.
During their first summer together, Larry and Kaarin were traveling between Atlanta and Baltimore when Larry decided to drop in on some friends of his that own and operate the Hike Inn in Robbinsville, NC for the night. They fell in love with the beauty of the mountains and decided they would pursue looking for a home in The Smokies.
In November 2005, they were driving thru Dandridge, TN and Kaarin said, “I could live here!” By Christmas of that year, they, along with Larry’s father, purchased ten undeveloped acres at 1968 Crescent Hill Road beside Douglass Lake.
They hired an excavator to prep the site and someone to pour the foundations. However, they could not find an existing floor plan they all liked, so they gathered around Larry Sr.’s kitchen table in Birmingham and designed their own.
Both in their sixties, living in a tent on site, this amazing couple began to personally build their entire dream home. They built the main house, a three car garage and a small cottage for Larry’s dad so he would feel independent during his last years.
They lived in the tent until the house was complete enough to reside. They personally did all the work by hand and did not call for help until it was time to put up the roof. The rafters were too heavy for the two to maneuver. When they were finished, they named their new home Lach Amore.
Larry Sr. passed a couple years later and his son began to think about adding a wood working shop to the grounds. But, Larry has been making wine since he was in his twenties, and Kaarin spoke up and suggested a winery. So, in April of 2011, they began to install a winery and were open for business by January 2012.
Lach Amore Winery opened with 4 wines, and they suddenly realized they could not make any of it fast enough for the demand placed on them by their new and very devoted customers. Not surprising, Lach Amore made money the first year in business.
Larry and Kaarin do not build a winery to make a living. Larry chuckled, “We charge just enough for the wine to be able to keep making it and drink all we want ourselves.” Kaarin said, “We do this because we are afraid of having nothing to do.” She added, “At our age nothing to do can be dangerous.”
Today, Lach Amore produces 14 European Style wines with no preservatives. Consequently, their labor of love attracts people from several states who come by for a case or two whenever they are in or passing through East Tennessee.
Larry says Lach Amore will be around for about eight more years, as when he turns 80; he is finally going to retire proper!
Lach Amore Winery is open Wednesday – Saturday from noon-5pm. Call 865-599-5313 to arrange purchases or tastings.
Henry Piarrot is a Sevier County resident and WorldVentures franchisee. Please send all story recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org.